VMware has finally released a vSphere compatible version of SRM, – about time. SRM is a key feature of the VMware suite, and in the eyes of many large enterprises, vSphere should never have been released in May without it. With that said, let’s focus upon the good things in this new product release. For enterprises that need this functionality this is a significant piece of differentiation for VMware, for which there is no counterpart in alternative virtualization platforms.

First, let’s address the bump in version number from 1 to 4. This is purely a function of aligning version numbers with the vSphere platform release of 4.0 which occurred in May of 2009. The 4.0 release number is important in that it does signal that this version of SRM is fully compatible with vSphere 4.0 which was the platform release that occurred in May 2009. This is a critical message and positioning for the large enterprise VMware customers that were on ESX 3.5, and that were being held back from upgrading by the lack of this functionality.

So what do you get for your new and improved SRM? Well users will be able to take advantage of the software in a mixed mode environment running ESX 3.0.3 (or higher), ESX 3.5, and ESX 4 host servers. Obviously to get this you will need to have your hosts managed by vCenter 4. This could well help to accelerate the adoption of vSphere 4 in those environments that have been holding back.

In addition to adding vSphere 4 support, SRM 4.0 also includes a many-to-one fail-over that protects multiple production sites with automated fail-over into a single, shared recovery site. This feature will enable a single DR site to be defined for multiple sites.

Other new features and enhancements VMware have announced include:

  • Full support for NFS-based arrays
  • A single protection group has had its capacity doubled to 1,000 virtual machines
  • SRM recovery plans can now power-on or power-off a host that is in standby mode
  • SRM can now protect virtual machines that have been configured for fault-tolerant operation, it is important to note however, that on fail over the guest will lose their fault tolerance and if Fault tolerance is a requirement it must be manually reconfigured after recovery to have it restored
  • With Linked Mode support, it is easy to see all of the SRM protected sites in one vCenter client

One down side of the new release is that vendors that were on the SRM 1.0 hardware compatibility list (HCL) will have to re-certify their agents to show that they work with SRM 4.0.   That said a great many of them have already completed the process and the remainder should complete the re-certification process by the end of the month.

One good thing depending upon your point of view is that pricing on the new version has not changed and remains at $1,750 per CPU socket.

To download the latest version mosey on over to download SRM 4.0, If you are looking for a good source on how to upgrade your SRM environment, check out VMware’s Uptime blog post and do not forget the VMTN Community for SRM for almost real time response you your issues and questions.

As important as SRM is to large enterprises with business critical applications running on a VMware infrastructure, it is overkill for many of the tactical low hanging fruit applications that were first virtualized two years ago, and that are now good candidates to move to Microsoft Hyper-V. In other words, while SRM is an important and differentiating piece of functionality, it is not universally applicable, and should not prevent SMB’s who only have one data center, and enterprises with tactical applications from continuing to consider and implement Hyper-V.

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Tom Howarth (69 Posts)

Tom Howarth is an IT Veteran of over 20 years experience and is the owner of PlanetVM.Net Ltd, Tom is a moderator of the VMware Communities forum. He is a contributing author on VMware vSphere(TM) and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment, and the forthcoming vSphere a Quick Guide. He regularly does huge virtualization projects for enterprises in the U.K. and elsewhere in EMEA. Tom was Elected vExpert for 2009 and each subsequent year thereafter.

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